Prehistoric rock art and cave paintings found in Karikkiyoor in the Nilgiris district are at risk of being lost forever, as recent surveys have found that around 150 of the cave paintings have been desecrated by vandals visiting the site, said local activist Kannan Ramaiah.
Mr. Ramaiah recently launched an awareness campaign to protect the remaining cave paintings at Gallery OneTwo in Udhagamandalam.
Mr. Ramaiah told The Hindu that a recent visit to the site at Karikiyoor revealed that only around 500 of the total 650 cave drawings have been left untouched, with visitors scribbling their names, painting political slogans and flags at the site.
“The paintings that are closer to the ground have been desecrated by visitors, and what remains of the cave paintings need to be preserved,” he said. More than 30 children and members of the public were sensitised to the need for protecting the cave paintings. Mr. Ramaiah also plans to stage lectures and awareness campaigns at various colleges across the Nilgiris to emphasise the message.
“Similar to what is being done in Kerala, a member of an indigenous community can be appointed as a guide. Only he should be allowed to get closer to the paintings and explain their significance and act against people vandalizing an integral part of the history, culture and heritage of The Nilgiris,” said Mr. Ramaiah.
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